Categories > Games > Skies of Arcadia

Holding On

by Wallwalker 0 reviews

AU Darkfic. Vyse, Aika and Fina have to deal with being stranded after their defeat at Galcian's hands, when capture or death do not come as quickly as they had expected. (Polyfic. Written for 3mea...

Category: Skies of Arcadia - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Aika, Fina, Vyse - Warnings: [!!!] [?] [X] - Published: 2005-11-23 - Updated: 2005-11-23 - 4492 words - Complete

Note: This story was inspired by another fanfic - Last Wish by Admiral J. (It can be found at Yes, I did get his permission before I wrote it. :)


I think that I've found out what the weirdest, scariest feeling in the world is.

No, it's not falling in love or finding a new treasure or even winning a battle you thought you'd never be able to win. Some of those things feel pretty different, but it's not as strange as this feeling. This one hits you harder than any of those, and it's really elating and really scary, all at the same time.

It's the feeling of being alive when you know very well that you ought to be dead. We all knew it as soon as we woke up on the first morning - at least, we figured it was morning, since Vyse had lost his pocketwatch in the confusion and Fina and I had no idea what time it was, with the thunderclouds blocking out all of the light. But we all woke up, and I think that was more than any of us were expecting. It was definitely more than I expected; when you're stranded on a little island in darkest Valua, and you've got at least two big, fast battleships hunting you down, you never forget that you're living on borrowed time.

In a way, I guess that I would've been okay with dying like that, you know? I never thought much of dying before, but it's one of those things that if I have to do it, I want to do it where I'm happy and safe and warm. I wasn't any of those things - not even really very warm, in that damp - but the three of us were cuddled together under a thick wool blanket, and it was about as close as we'd get to any of those three under the circumstances. So, yeah. I think it would've been fine.

But we didn't die. And we're Blue Rogues; as long as we're alive, we're not going to give up. None of us wanted to just sit around there, so we got up and packed what little we had and set off.

Yeah, we were in a bad situation. Part of me just wanted to say that it was just the price to pay for defying the biggest armada in the world. If we hadn't been so confident that we could beat anything in the Delphinus, I think we might've had better luck. But I think that we thought we were invincible, and it came as a big surprise to us all when we found out the hard way that we weren't. But then I thought about it again, and I shook my head and decided not to think about it anymore, and I just kept going with the others.

We didn't have the slightest idea where we were going, though. In our blind flight, we had ended up on an island; as much of a relief that seeing the ruins was, it would've been better if we'd managed to find the mainland. But we didn't have anywhere to go, under the circumstances - there were a few caves and such that we could use for shelter, but that was about it. No signs of life, unless you count those weird white mushrooms that grow in all kinds of caves and things in Valua.

Those mushrooms turned out to be most of our food supply, vile as they were. A long time ago, someone had told me that the Valuans ate nothing but mushrooms in ancient times, when they couldn't find a good source of fish or meat. That explained a lot of their sour dispositions. It didn't take me all that long to decide that I never wanted to see the stupid things again again. I almost envied Cupil; he was finding plenty of Moon Stones to eat, probably thanks to the Rain, and I'll bet they tasted better than those mushrooms.

Still, much as I hate the things, they were edible, and we needed to eat something to keep up our strength. We burned them to make fires, too, when we could find some that looked dry and woody enough. They stank, and the smell of the smoke in our hair almost made me sick... but at least it was warm, and I got used to the smell after a while. So that was okay.

As for supplies, we had one survival kit, which had a few rations in it, a blanket, some tiny Red Moon Stone pebbles for starting fires, and some other basic odds and ends. And we had our weapons, Vyse's spyglass, and the wet, scratchy clothes on our backs, and that was about it.

Like I said before, though, just being alive made me feel really strange. I had half-expected not to wake up again, or maybe to wake up in the warm bed on Crescent Isle and discover that it had all been a bad dream, that we hadn't left for the battle against the Armada yet. But we were still on the island, and we had to do what we could. The rain had stopped at least for a little while (although the thunder and lightning never seemed to stop) and our clothes were mostly dry.

The trick was to just keep moving. Don't stop to worry, don't stop to think. Stop to look for food or supplies or anything else we could use, or to sleep when we absolutely had to, and that was it. Just keep going and don't look back.

That's exactly what we did. We moved. We grabbed our stuff, we took anything that might've revealed to a search party that it was there, and we left the lighthouse behind for good. The rain came back later and soaked us to the skin, but after a while we just had to ignore it until we could find more shelter.

We walked together - one of us always in front, looking out ahead; another behind, watching our backs; and the third in the middle, watching the sky above us. We all kept our weapons handy, all the time, so that if we spotted a soldier or two we could hopefully keep them from calling out to anyone else. I had my father's boomerang, Vyse had his cutlass, and Fina had Cupil always hovering about, unless he was dashing off to find more stones to eat.

We watched for pits, gullies, caves... anything that might hide us from sight and from the rain, or that might hide something that could help us. The absolutely best thing to find would've been an old lifeboat, still seaworthy, that we could repair well enough just to get us over to the other shore. If we could get to the mainland, we could find survivors, rally them, find a bigger ship and get back into the skies, and maybe even find a way to get Galcian and Ramirez back for what they'd done. Ironic, isn't it? We were the only people who'd ever escaped from the Grand Fortress alive, and there were, trying to get back into Valua!

Still, we all knew that it probably wasn't gonna happen. Even if we found an abandoned ship it would've been rotten through, and definitely not airworthy. Without a ship, we didn't see a way to escape, and we weren't going to do it if we couldn't stay together.

We kept going, though. Fina kept praying, but by then I think she was the only one with the strength left to pray. The Moons were our enemies now, not our allies. Now that Galcian had Soltis and Zelos under his control, he could call the Rains of Destruction anytime he pleased.

So when we figured that it was night, we would rest, and try to keep our strength up. We'd find a decent hiding place and set our wet clothes aside to dry wherever we could, building a fire if we could find a cave with enough ventilation that we wouldn't end up dying in our sleep because of the smoke; that wasn't too hard, since it seemed like most of the Valuan islands were so full of cracks and tunnels that it was a wonder we could walk on them without them falling apart, and this one was no exception. Then we'd make a sort of makeshift bedroll out of the blanket, so that we wouldn't have to sleep on bare rocks; it meant that we never seemed to have enough blanket to go around, and we had to huddle together to keep warm. So we'd curl up under the blankets, so close that we couldn't help but cling to each other, and we'd talk and hug and comfort each other however we could.

I don't know what to call what we were doing, or what we were feeling. It wasn't making love, because the love was already there, and if it hadn't been there it never would've happened. It was like everything just started to overflow when we were together, all of the fear and the love and the anger and the pain and the loyalty, and we all held each other and touched each other to make it stop, somehow, to find some kind of shelter. I don't think any of us ever managed not to cry. It always ended with all of us crying on each other's shoulders, just seeking some kind of refuge from the disaster that our attempt at fighting Galcian had become.

The three of us were such a mess, bedraggled and dirty and often still shivering from the rain, but somehow that just never seemed to matter as we touched and hugged and kissed. That first night, when we were in the old ruined lighthouse and we were so sure that Galcian would be coming for us as soon as it was daylight again, we had been in such a hurry; we had all been sure that it was going to be our last night alive, and we'd wanted to do everything, wanted to be together as much as we possibly could. We hadn't gotten much sleep that night; it had been kisses and touches and moans and even a brief moment of pain as Vyse had finally eased my legs open and started to push inside of me, while Fina was still behind me and running her hands all over my body. It had been so important then that none of us could've waited another instant. But after that it was never so urgent, and we moved more slowly, hands and fingers trailing over skin unhurriedly like we were trying to memorize how we all felt together, how our bodies curved and rose and fell and fit together so well.

I think it was those nights that kept us going. They were the only thing that meant anything to me after a while, more than the vague thought of escape. I knew that even if Galcian were to catch us that day - even if he killed us in our sleep - he'd never be able to take that feeling away from us.


Usually we all managed to sleep through the night, I think, although our sleep was full of nightmares because of the thunder and our own fears. We slept because we were just too tired not to.

There was one night that I woke up, though, although I don't remember what woke me. One minute I was asleep, and the next minute I was wide awake, curled up close to Fina wiht my arm around her waist and my face buried in her hair. It was all very sweet, except that Vyse wasn't behind me anymore, and I was starting to get a little bit cold.

I got up to see if he was all right, mostly. Fina was fast asleep, and I let her go as gently as I could, because I didn't want to wake her. I got up and saw Vyse sitting by a fire he'd just built, because I was pretty sure we hadn't bothered to build one earlier that night. He was just sitting there, feeding bits of dry cave fungus into it and watching as it burned.

I cleared my throat. That got his attention, at least; he looked up enough to see me there. "Hey," I said softly.

"Hi, Aika," he said, and scooted over enough to let me sit. The rock ledge was clean enough, at least, and the fire had warmed it a little. Still, I cuddled in close to him, trying to keep just a little bit warmer if I could. "You okay?"

I nodded. "I'm fine. I'm kind of worried about you."

He didn't answer at first. I guess he wasn't really expecting that. "I couldn't sleep," he finally said. "I didn't see much reason to keep you girls awake, though. So I just came over here, built a fire..."

I smiled as best I could. That was Vyse for you, always thinking of other people even when it meant that he had to do without something. Still, I couldn't help but keep worrying. Vyse had just lost a lot of things that he'd worked hard to get, so of course I was worried; who wouldn't be? "I appreciate it," I said. "But now that I'm up, do you want to talk about it?"

"Honestly, Aika, I don't know if I should." He had his arm around me, and he was absently sort of rubbing my back as he talked. It felt really nice. It seemed like we were always touching each other since we'd been marooned... even when we were traveling, we'd always reach out and take each others' hands just to reassure ourselves that we were all still together. "I'm trying not to think about it all. If I think about it, I'm not sure if I can be strong enough to support everyone."

I shook my head and took his free hand before he could keep talking. "That's not how this works, Vyse," I said carefully. "You don't carry us. We all help each other." I looked him in the face. He wasn't wearing his spypatch, and his usual cocky expression was gone; he looked so much younger, like a scared little boy. "So tell me, already," I demanded. "Whatever it is, I can take it."

"Yeah," he said, and a little bit of a smile started to come back. "You always were pretty tough. Not very ladylike at all."

Once upon a time, I might've trounced him for that. But not that time. "Thanks. So what's going on?"

"Well... I was just thinking." He stared back into the fire. "How many days have we been here, Aika? What's your best guess?"

"Huh?" I thought for a minute. "I'm really not sure," I finally had to admit. After a while, the days had started to run together for me, and I had lost count. "A week, maybe?"

Vyse nodded. "Something like that. I've been trying to keep count... it's not easy when it's always dark. But I think that's right." He looked back up. "So why are we still here? Why haven't we been caught?"

"Because Galcian can't just hunt us down like rats, no matter how big he thinks he is!" I said first, a little too loudly. Then I checked myself and continued in a lower voice. "I mean, because it's not as easy to find us and catch us as they think."

"See, though, that's just it," Vyse answered. "Galcian has the entire Armada at his disposal now, except for a few rebels that he's probably already wiped out. He's got the largest collection of soldiers and warships in Arcadia. Even if you forget about Zelos for a while - and I can't - he could've wiped us out anytime he wanted to. He could've flooded this place with so many soldiers that there wouldn't be a place to hide from them. He could've done a lot of things, but he hasn't done any of that."

I looked up as he stopped his monologue, faltering a bit as he stared back into the fire. "What are you saying, Vyse?" I finally asked, when it looked like he wasn't going to keep talking if I didn't.

"I don't think that he's going to come for us, Aika. That's what I'm saying."

"But... he's Galcian," I said. "He's got to be. He's too proud to just let us get away from him, right?"

"That's what I thought, at first," he said, and shook his head. "But I'm starting to wonder, now. It's been too long. And I just came up with something a couple of hours ago that makes it all seem to make sense. What if he knows that we're here, and that we're stranded? What if he knows that there's no way off of this island, nothing that we can use to build a new ship with, or anything? Just rocks and mushrooms and some ruins, and that's it. So why would he waste his time on us?"

I didn't answer. The idea made me start to shiver a little, because it just made so much sense.

"Maybe he's decided that he can just let us rot here. Maybe he's going after other targets now." He paused for a moment, just staring some more. I wasn't sure but I thought I could see tears in his eyes, but he hid them really well. I don't remember seeing Vyse cry since we were maybe six. "He'll probably destroy everything," he finally continued. "All of our friends, and everyone who ever really helped us, are probably going to be hunted down and captured, and then executed for what we've done. Pirate's Isle and Crescent Isle are probably already in flames, so that even if by some chance we did get off of this island we wouldn't have anywhere to go. He'll tear down everything we've worked so hard to build... then maybe he'll come back for us, so that he can drag us around in chains and show us just what he's done to our friends because of our rebellion."

I felt a lump rising in my throat as he spoke, a really nasty one. I couldn't help it. It all sounded so hopeless, especially coming from Vyse, who had always been so confident and calm... I didn't know what to do. I wanted to cry. I wanted to close my eyes and then open them and be somewhere else, in that nice warm bed, or even in that dirty, uncomfortable hammock that I used to sleep in on the Little Jack. Anywhere else would've been better than facing such a dismal future.

"I don't know what to do this time, Aika." He rested his head on my shoulder, and I could hear all of that worry and weariness in his voice, the way it seemed to droop. "I don't know if there's anything we can do."

"Vyse..." I started, but I didn't know what to say. Something confident, something cheerful, something that would make this depressed Vyse go away and bring back the real Vyse... I knew that much. But what could possibly do that?

I didn't get the chance to think, because Vyse and I both heard the rustling sounds outside of the firelight. There was, I think, a moment of panic for both of us, because we knew that the sound didn't belong there... at least until we saw Fina step into the firelight, shivering despite the blanket wrapped tightly around her shoulders. "Vyse? Aika?" she asked nervously. "Are you two okay?"

"Yeah," I said, and hastily scooted over so that Vyse could make room for her. "We're fine. We were just talking a little."

"I know," she said. "I... I woke up and heard some of it." She joined us gratefully, sitting on the other side of Vyse and handing him the blanket. He took it and awkwardly spread it behind us, so that it draped over our shoulders as best we could manage. It was still not quite long enough, and we all had to snuggle together even closer, not that any of us minded at all.

"Did I wake you when I got up, Fina?" I asked quietly. I let go of Vyse's hand and reached across to take hers. "I didn't mean to... I'm sorry. You seemed to be sleeping so well."

She smiled. Her face was dirty, her hair tangled... but then, I'm sure I must've looked just as bad, if not worse. We were all a mess by then. "It's okay. I'd... I'd rather be awake with you guys than asleep alone, I think."

I tried to smile back. But it was hard, looking at pretty little Fina and seeing her like that. She wasn't supposed to be there, darn it. Vyse and I have been pirates for years, and so we've always known that it could end up this way, that we might end up marooned on some forsaken island for the rest of our lives. But Fina... Fina was from somewhere so different that I could barely even understand it. She'd never asked for this -

No, I stopped myself. She had. If she hadn't asked to come with us, she wouldn't be there at all. She'd made that choice a long time ago, and blaming myself wouldn't help at all.

"I know that we're in a bad situation," Fina continued, and wiped a stray bit of yellow hair away from her face. "I don't want to lose hope completely. because I don't think I could go on if I did. But, please... I want to stay with you, and I want to face the truth with you. I know that you're trying to help me, but please don't leave me out and let me pretend that everything's going to be okay."

"I won't, Fina," Vyse said quietly, and I nodded my agreement.

She looked up at Vyse, then, and I could see that innocent determination in her face. "And please don't keep thinking that this is your fault, Vyse," she said, her voice so soft that it was barely heard over the sputtering fire.

Vyse seemed to jump a little at that. "What?"

"It's not your fault. It's Galcian's fault. You did everything you could to save us. We need to blame him, not... not ourselves."

Vyse didn't answer, so I went ahead and jumped in. "She's right," I said quietly. "All of this stuff about not being able to carry us... maybe you ought to relax and let us carry you for a change. I mean, the Moons know that you've worked hard enough for long enough that you deserve some rest," I said, trying to sound bantering.

"Maybe," he said. "It's just that... well, you know how I said a long time ago that there weren't any impossible situations?" he said, turning to me. I nodded. "Well," he said again, "I think that this is the most impossible one I've ever been in."

"Maybe," Fina said. "But maybe you managed to fool him, too. Maybe he figured that we had fallen into Deep Sky when he couldn't find the lifeboat. Maybe he doesn't know we're here at all, and that'll give us more time. Just because things look bad, that doesn't mean we ought to give up." She smiled. "Someone very kind told me that once."

Vyse laughed in spite of himself. "You don't forget anything, do you, Fina?"

"No, why? Should I?"

I grinned at that too. It was almost like normal, the three of us teasing each other. Never mind the horrible fix that we were in, we were still there and we were still ourselves, and that was something else that they couldn't take away. Not now, and not ever. "See, Vyse? We ought to listen to that person, whoever he was. Galcian's probably just waiting for us to fall apart, and I don't want to prove him right."

"No," he said. "I don't want to do that either." He paused then, and I could hear him crying, although I didn't look at his face. "I just keep thinking of all of those people, though," he continued. "I mean, they helped us, but now they might be dead because of us... they didn't deserve that. None of them did."

"But they chose to come with us," Fina said. "They chose to help us... just like I chose to come with you. I'm sure they understand."

"I... I guess you're right." He took a deep breath, then abruptly squeezed us even tighter; for a second, I couldn't even breathe. "Thank you."

We didn't say that he was welcome; I was sure that he knew it, and I think that Fina was too. "Come on," I said. "Let's go try to lie down. I know it's hard, but we need to get some rest."

"Yeah," Vyse said. "I guess we should all get some sleep."

Fina murmured something in agreement. So did I; we'd all had a long night.

We all got up, and Vyse grabbed the blanket. We all went back to the place where we'd been sleeping before, and I waited as Vyse spread the blanket on the ground, thinking to myself. At least we all understood one thing, now. No matter how bad things looked for us, we weren't gonna just give up like Galcian wanted us to. If there was a way off, we were gonna find it, Rains or no Rains. And if there wasn't... well, we were gonna live like pirates, not like prisoners.

"Okay," Vyse said. "Let's get some sleep tonight. Tomorrow, we'll keep trying to find a way home."

He sounded almost normal again. I smiled as Fina and I rested on the blanket, and then felt Fina's arms wrap around my waist and her head rest against my shoulder. I reached up and took her hand as I heard Vyse lie down behind Fina, then pull what was left of the blanket up over us.

I think it was the best sleep I'd had since we'd been stranded. I was starting to feel more like myself again, and it was about time.



A/N: Written for another one of those theme communities on LJ, although like I said above, it was really based more off of another fic. (The community is called 3measures. It's the only one I've seen that lets people claim three characters without having to write fifty fics or more. This is a good thing.)

I welcome any feedback. Don't ask if it'll be continued, though, because I'm not sure myself. It's possible but not likely, since I'm not sure where to go from here, in all honesty.

The next fic about these three that I write will be happy. Honest.
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